About

NetMenders is a personal ministry and vision given to me by God and one that I hope you will share.

Introduction – Nets and their Purpose

Nets are used for holding things in or keeping things out. Fishermen use them effectively to catch many fish at once, beaches may use them to prevent sharks entering a swimming area. Consider how important a safety net is when people are working at heights or how much relief a mosquito net provides to someone sleeping in a tropical jungle.

But what if the net is broken? How effective is it then? In many cases it may as well not be there at all. Once the breach is large enough the net becomes useless. Whatever is caught in it escapes out of (or enters through) the damaged area. And hope is lost as the very security or provision that the net offered is removed.

Nets in Life

Many areas in life depend on “nets”. We don’t really notice them until they are breached. We talk about safety nets for those in financial trouble and insurance policies are good example. The laws and rules that exist all around us provide similar protection. But there is something unique about a net versus other forms of protection. Its flexible, as light as possible and deliberately designed to enable some things to pass through and others to be caught. Because of this very principle a net is easily damaged and requires regular inspections and repairs to ensure its integrity.

So what sort of nets are we focusing on here? Broadly speaking, all sorts of areas in life from family relationships to friends to communities and even distant past connections. But one of  the most critical for me is our connection to God. In bringing men back to God Jesus said to his disciples that he would make them fishers of men. In those days fishing was done from a boat using nets that were dropped over the side. These nets needed to be light but when they caught too many fish they could not only break but sink the boat! There is an example of this in Luke 5:6-7 MSG:
“It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.”

Obviously the disciples who were fishermen would not attempt to catch fish with a broken net. If we are to be effective in reaching the lost for Christ then we need nets that will hold the catch. The gospel is not just about getting reconnected with God but becoming a follower of Christ and enjoying the fellowship of other believers who are now a part of God’s family. Each of these processes rely on being nurtured and each has its vulnerabilities for being derailed or dropping through the net. In many respects “the church” is this net but it operates in many different ways to achieve this result. A net is used from a boat, being lowered into the water and enabling the fish to be hauled into the boat. The boat cannot catch fish without the net. The boat is part of the process but today we sometimes forget how to cast a net and instead expect fish to somehow just jump straight into the boat. So we see a process at work here to move people gently from the net into the boat. If I was to use another analogy that comes from William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, it is seeing the lost as being like individuals crying out for help in the sea of humanity which is about to drown them unless someone sends out the rescue boats and plucks them to safety.

Most of our efforts in reaching the lost is though individuals reaching out to other individuals but some will see the local church as their connection to God and will see baptisms, marriages, funerals and times of crisis as the points of connection. Communities may see the local churches within their area as representing who God is and how he thinks. Considering these things leaves us with an awesome responsibility. Our kindness, love, compassion, concern and sensitivity to others will provide a net to draw all men to Jesus – only as we lift Him up. To the degree that we fail to show Jesus in our lives and in our churches we will also fail to draw men to Jesus – our net will be broken.

Today I still see a number of breaches in our nets. One that has been significantly restored over recent years is unity within the body of Christ. In many areas churches are willing to pray and reach out to their community together. But in terms of having a net that will hold a catch we have not really seen many coming to faith in Christ despite this. Why is this not resulting in more fruitfulness? Similarly, during discipleship and in finding fellowship there are significant drop offs. It reminds us also of the parable of the sower and the seed that landed in different soil. It is the hearts that are well prepared that will bear fruit that lasts. So let’s look at what we can do to improve these things.

1. Salvation
Firstly, I would suggest the biggest issue is proclamation. We don’t share the message of salvation enough both directly and through more creative ways such as song, drama, testimonies, discovering Christianity groups, etc. Without hearing and being asked for a response most people do not receive the gospel message. Why are our nets failing in this area? I think in many cases it comes down to some basic issues of fears, hurts and confidence. We fear rejection from those around us. We have been hurt by the harsh approach to being told to evangelise. And most importantly, we have not been given a sense of confidence knowing we are effective in the task.

2. Discipleship
Next, I would suggest we are not good at following up new converts. We need to realize that a new baby cannot feed itself and a child cannot be expected to make right choices without some parental guidance. And yet many new Christians will resist being discipled and we will feel that we have to just let them go their own way. Again we would ask why this net of discipleship is failing? Maybe we are not convinced that we are responsible for those the Lord gives us to nurture, maybe we fear rejection but our greatest challenge is that we may not be prepared to walk alongside people no matter what, to keep coming back and never giving up. If we want to see Christians grow and have strong foundations in their lives then discipleship is a key. Then, when the storms in life come they will stand because their lives are built on Christ the solid rock.

3. Fellowship
Thirdly, in a similar way to how new converts may shun discipleship many Christians today do not like being in intimate fellowship with others. There may be many reasons such as being hurt in the past or not wanting to stop certain habits but unless we accept deep fellowship we will not grow. As it says in the scriptures in 1 John 1:7 MSG:
“But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.”

There are many scriptures that highlight these things and I will expand on there as separate topics.

So back to net mending. How can we ensure that we, as Christians and over all as churches, have nets that catch the fish, hold them and get them into the boat? We need to restore these principles of Salvation, Discipleship and Fellowship. To do this requires us to develop Teamwork, Commitment and Relationships with those of a similar heart within our churches and across churches.

So in finishing sharing this vision I want to leave you with a picture of what I think God has in mind in calling us into this ministry that captures the faith element, the need for depth and the result we can expect as described in Luke 5:4-6 MSG:
‘When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.” Simon said, “Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.” It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity.’

Imagine that! Please join me in this exciting journey.

Blessings,
Ben

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Welcome to Net Menders

www.NetMenders.info commenced on the 5th May 2009 as a new personal and ministry website for the purpose of providing a wholistic vision of “Net Mending” together. Therefore this term includes every facit of life and challenges us to consider how it applies to our personal life, our history, our families, our relatiionships, our jobs, our hobbies, our ministries, our community, our church fellowship, our partnership in the gospel of Jesus Christ. In this regard I will attempt to outlive this very vision in all that I do and share this with those who will partner with me in also becoming net menders.

It may seem a strange term to you but it was one used in the Bible and applied to the fisherman in Jesus’ day. Rather than attempt to explain this I will quote from another source which I found useful…

“Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one …” (Galatians 6:1). The word restore means “to put in proper condition.” Outside the New Testament, to restore meant to set broken bones and dislocated limbs. In the Gospels it was used in regard to mending fishing nets (Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19). The purpose for fishing nets is obviously to catch fish. If the nets are torn, they will not catch many fish. The fish will just swim out through the holes. Torn nets need to be mended.

One of God’s purposes for my life is to bring people to Christ and to minister to the needs of others—my wife, my children, and other members of the Body. When my life is torn by faults, I am not going to minister to many needs. I must be mended. And that mending will not normally take place unless I am confronted about my faults.

Mending Nets By: Richard L. Strauss (Bio) http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=1308

So please join me on this journey of discovery and blessing as we not only are the ones mending but also become a part of God’s net being prepared for a great harvest.

Blessings,

Ben

churchwest@gmail.com

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Vision

NETMENDERS
“repairing connections, restoring hope”

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That every believer might have:

– Effectiveness in Personal & Team Evangelism

– Discipleship that provides Sure Foundations through Life

– Intimate & Authentic  Fellowship with God & other Believers
___________________________
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The King’s Speech

Maybe you’ve watched the recent movie “The King’s Speech” and been touched by the emotion and humour of the remarkable real story of King George VI and his speech impediment. Here’s a quote from the movie highlighting the irony of such a predicament whilst being in such an important position as king:

“Queen Elizabeth: My husband’s work involves a great deal of public speaking.

Lionel Logue: Then he should change jobs 

Queen Elizabeth: He can’t.

Lionel Logue: What is he, an indentured servant? 
Queen Elizabeth: Something like that. “

How difficult it must have been to seek outside help in such a situation. Having taken that brave step the speech therapist then tries to get to the cause of this problem but here is the response:

“Logue: What was your earliest memory? 

King George VI: I’m not… -here to discuss… -personal matters 

Lionel Logue: Why are you here then? 

King George VI: Because I bloody well stammer”

What follows is a journey of discovery full of rich interpersonal exchanges as the king and the therapist become friends and at times enemies and the king overcomes his greatest fears. Why am I sharing this story with you? Like many who have seen the film I was touched by something that was not immediately obvious. Something in this story hit a nerve in me. Maybe you can relate but let me explain.

When I was growing up I struggled at times with insecurities. Sometimes these manifested in nightmares or incredible fear. They were triggered by scary movies or having done something that was not allowed at home but my inquisitiveness had got the better of me. But in the end I realised it was my relationship with my father that was my problem. I didn’t feel accepted. It was not something obvious that he had deliberately done but just the way many fathers tended to be in those days – not too expressive and quick to punish (a bit like how King George’s father treated him).

Strangely, these early childhood experiences grew into some teenage behaviour that limited my development. I became quite introverted and lacked confidence to put myself forward. I was extremely fearful of public speaking even in a small group and a simple thing like reading a book aloud in a classroom was a terribly nervous and embarrassing experience. Somehow I had lost confidence in my outward person but to compensate I’d become focused on study, hobbies and anything that was individual. On looking back this was in stark contrast to my primary school years when I showed few inhibitions.

Like King George I needed help if I was to be set free from my fears.  My turning point came when I was introduced to Jesus Christ in a personal way. I had always had a faith in God but I was not able to say I knew God. What I discovered in my new life in Christ was that God is a loving Father and he accepts us for who we are no matter what we’ve done. Not only that, he wants us to be set free from our fears, our failures and every insecurity. Having new confidence in a loving God moved me on a path to recovery to the point where I would share publicly what I was like and those listening would not believe me.

Although some of these changes were quite dramatic I still exhibited a few nervous traits and complex behaviours that took a number of years to overcome. I can say that the loving support of Christians around me were key to my growth and one person in particular who taught me how to come out of myself was to become my wife in future years.

Did you know there is something far more serious than any physical or emotional impediment, no matter how bad this may seem? Yes, it is our tendency to fall short of God’s standard (what the Bible calls sin) and at this point we are all equal. What do I mean, you may be asking? Well the Bible describes sin in many ways but in its simplest form it is rebelling against or disobeying God. The outward expression of sin is self-centred behaviour which limits our ability to be the person God wants us to be. How could you have sinned if you don’t even know God, you may ask? He has made us in his image and given us a conscience to know right from wrong.

 

Choosing to do wrong cuts us off from a relationship with God but God offers to restore it through his son Jesus who came to earth to reveal God as a loving Father and to fully compensate for our rebellion against God by offering himself in our place. That price was his own life that he gave by dying on a cross but God raised him up again breaking the power of sin and death. So what do you need to do to benefit from what Jesus has done? God is offering you a free gift of restored relationship with Him if you are willing to acknowledge you are a sinner, accept Jesus has paid for your sin and start doing whatever God asks you to do.

Remember that God is our loving heavenly Father who does not want us to have any impediment in life but to be restored, confident and free.

If you’ve taken that first step or would like help to grow in your relationship with God then please feel free to contact me on 0417 917 075 or ben@netmenders.info . I’d love to hear from you.

God Bless,

Ben.

www.netmenders.info

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Introduction

www.NetMenders.info commenced on the 5th May 2009 as a new personal and ministry website for the purpose of providing a wholistic vision of “Net Mending” together. Therefore this term includes every facit of life and challenges us to consider how it applies to our personal life, our history, our families, our relatiionships, our jobs, our hobbies, our ministries, our community, our church fellowship, our partnership in the gospel of Jesus Christ. In this regard I will attempt to outlive this very vision in all that I do and share this with those who will partner with me in also becoming net menders.

It may seem a strange term to you but it was one used in the Bible and applied to the fisherman in Jesus’ day. Rather than attempt to explain this I will quote from another source which I found useful…

“Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one …” (Galatians 6:1). The word restore means “to put in proper condition.” Outside the New Testament, to restore meant to set broken bones and dislocated limbs. In the Gospels it was used in regard to mending fishing nets (Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19). The purpose for fishing nets is obviously to catch fish. If the nets are torn, they will not catch many fish. The fish will just swim out through the holes. Torn nets need to be mended.

One of God’s purposes for my life is to bring people to Christ and to minister to the needs of others—my wife, my children, and other members of the Body. When my life is torn by faults, I am not going to minister to many needs. I must be mended. And that mending will not normally take place unless I am confronted about my faults.

Mending Nets By: Richard L. Strauss (Bio) http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=1308

So please join me on this journey of discovery and blessing as we not only are the ones mending but also become a part of God’s net being prepared for a great harvest.

Blessings,

Ben

churchwest@gmail.com

.